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Frie, R. Brothers, D. (2018). Psychoanalysis Confronts the Political: Editors’ Introduction. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 13(4):307-310.

(2018). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 13(4):307-310

Introduction

Psychoanalysis Confronts the Political: Editors’ Introduction

Roger Frie, Ph.D., Psy.D., R.Psych., and Doris Brothers, Ph.D.

What does a socially responsible psychoanalysis look like? How does a profession that has traditionally focused on the workings of the inner mind address the politically and socially troubled times in which we live? How does the feminist assertion “The personal is political” relate to the daily work of psychoanalysts in the therapeutic setting? There are no simple answers to these questions, and as the history of psychoanalysis attests, attempts to account for the social and political contexts of the mind have often led to dispute and disunion. But in the current global social and political climate, especially in the United States, in which torture is deemed by those in positions of power to be permissible and refugee children are forcibly separated from their parents in a racially and economically motivated policy of discrimination, psychoanalysis can ill afford to look away or avoid the hard questions.

In this special issue, which we have titled “Psychoanalysis Confronts the Political,” we have brought together leading psychoanalytic theorists, practitioners, and activists to address key social and political issues. These progressive psychoanalysts engage the current political situation and see social activism on behalf of human rights as fundamental to our collective well-being (Hollander, 2010; Orange, 2016). This perspective has long been a minority voice in a profession that has tended to keep the political at a distance. Many psychoanalysts, particularly in the United States, have been able to take a sense of individual security and stability for granted. As a result, psychoanalysis, like the discipline of psychology, has traditionally maintained a boundary between therapeutic practice and political concerns. Recently, however, as a result of a series of political upheavals, growing numbers of analysts have begun to question their place in societies that are built on fundamental inequalities of race, gender and income. These disparities exist not only on a local level but also on a global level, spurred on by neoliberal policies, vast economic imbalances, and regional conflicts.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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